A BUCKET-LOAD OF GUTS
Event rider Ginny Thompson is definitely her mother’s daughter – Ginny and her mum Hazel are both beautiful riders who have done a super job of producing many horses over the years. At one stage Ginny (24) and Hazel (55) were competing at one-star level at the same time, but Hazel has now retired from eventing to concentrate on dressage.
These days, Ginny is a full-time event rider with a yard full of horses and a groom, while Hazel has reclaimed her life after several years of being Ginny’s main support crew.
Scottish-born Hazel has always ridden; growing up in Aberdeen, she was first plonked on a pony at the age of three by her horsey father Bert. Although she gave up riding for a while to go nursing, when she moved to New Zealand with her Kiwi husband, Bryan, horses soon crept into her life again. The young couple bought 10 acres at Taupaki, and had their three children in quick succession; Steph, Ginny and Andrew were born within three years.
The girls were both keen for ponies, but Hazel says she “totally wasn’t fussed” if they rode or not. And though elder sister Steph lost interest once she moved on to hacks, Ginny became increasingly competitive.
Her first hack, Johnny Suede, was a lazy little thoroughbred with a heart of gold, and with him she tasted her first national success, winning the CCI* at the Taupo three-day event.
Hazel, meanwhile, was becoming much more serious about her own riding, though juggling three children and three-day eventing wasn’t easy! Her top horse, Louisiana Roux, was “a lot flasher” than Ginny’s Johnny, but the pair each had much success at one-star.
Hazel says when she was competing alongside Ginny, she didn’t used to get nearly so nervous about her daughter setting off on cross-country because she